“Be confident about what is best for you.”
Yasemin Gezer has worked in the Professional Services Team in SCEEM since 2019 as a Student Administrator for Engineering Maths. She tells us here how a flexible working arrangement enables her to balance her work in the University with her passion for teaching music.
Tell us about you – where are you from, who you are outside of work?
I am originally from Reading and came to Bristol to study Music from which I graduated in 2018. I became really interested in the history of music and African American music which spurred me to start listening to and sing Jazz music. I love how much Jazz incorporates culture into its music such as politics, romance and comedy. I teach singing to 6th form students at St Brendan’s College on Mondays who are studying performing arts or music. It’s a great age to teach as they are old enough to know and decide at that point what they want to do, the students I teach show real passion in music which is great to be part of.
Tell us how you got here – what did you do to get here, what decisions did you make, what motivated you?
After I graduated in 2018 I started to look for jobs in Bristol, soon after my search I started working at a travel agency. This job was not the most exciting or motivating! Within a few months of starting there I was made redundant at the ripe old age of 22. As I only worked one day for the College as a singing teacher I needed another form of income, so I asked my friend about working at the University of Bristol as she worked there and spoke highly of it. I was motivated to apply to work at the University as it is a modern and inclusive institution to work for, there is also good pay and a favourable holiday package which are not offered at the same level as other employers. I also knew that the University offered flexible hours which was a big advantage for me as I had to bear my teaching commitment in mind when applying for other jobs. After applying a few times, I got an interview and was offered a job within Student Administration in 2019.
Why do you like your job?
What I like most about my job is the people I work with. When I started my role at the University, I knew the people would be welcoming and great to work with, and they lived up to that! I really appreciate the fact that I was able to easily compress my hours in order to continue my signing lessons which is what I am most passionate about. The conversation with my line manager to make this change was easy, which put my mind at rest knowing I was able to continue my teaching. My job is very varied which I enjoy, it changes throughout the year which keeps me motivated and interested in my role.
How do you make it work in terms of work/life balance?
As I was teaching before I started at the University I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to find a job that fit in with my commitment. It is a huge plus that I can continue my teaching and work at the University, I really appreciated how flexible my work could be to fit around my external commitments. Recently our team have been given a rota for returning to the office after lockdown, and I am grateful to be able to still work from home 1 day a week. Being able to work from home is a great advantage as I have noticed my energy levels are a lot better and I feel like I am able to be more active outside of work.
How has career development / promotion happened for you so far?
From the start I have been open about my end goal which is to be a singer and to continue teaching singing. I am happy in my current role and I really like how I can do both jobs. The working environment is so nice that it makes me want to stay in my role and not move to another one! I don’t feel I am treated differently for having a different goal outside of the University. I feel very supported in my role and get asked about my career development which is good to know I am not excluded in any way. If I do change my mind about progression, I am confident that my line manager will support me with this.
How have you been supported, and how do you support others?
I receive great support from my Line manager and my Senior Student Administrator, she has been very helpful in supporting me with my work. My team in general have a positive and supportive attitude, we all support each other with our work. When we started working from home this was made harder but we were still able to motivate each other.
I love supporting my singing students, being able to help them reach their goal is very rewarding. I also make sure that I can help my colleagues within my team with the work they are doing.
I am very happy within my role and don’t have plans to change. In the future I would like to drop a day or so to focus on my music.
What advice would you give people considering a similar career?
I would always advise others to not be afraid to ask. I asked for my hours to suit my external commitments and this happened with very little trouble. It is ok to change your hours to suit you, many of us have another life outside of work and we should be able to enjoy it! I would also say be confident about what is best for you.